NT Branch – March 2024

The NT branch has been making progress in establishing a footprint in the Top End community. This month we have welcomed a few new members and have hosted our first BBQ fundraiser to raise proceeds for branded resources and materials for our events. We have also provided advice to a local business on the preservation of their native stingless bee colonies and have hosted our first ever virtual presentation for ANBA members and interested guests.

New members
A warm welcome to our newest members to the NT branch – Greg Flint, Sarah Sutcliffe and Jo Freeman, some of whom have been ANBA members for some time and have recently affiliated with the NT branch and some of whom have recently joined due to an emerging interest in native bees. A lot can ‘bee’ learned through sharing experience, and we look forward to sharing this journey with you and learning from one another throughout 2024 and beyond.

On Friday 23 February, the NT branch hosted a BBQ fundraiser at Bunnings in Yarrawonga. This event was put together by branch members David Shea, David Sutcliffe, Anne Patton, Wes Mackay and Sherronna Nowland. Being the first fundraiser the branch has held, there was a lot to learn in terms of what to prepare, quantities to purchase and how to maximise the sales profits. We reached out to local politicians for support and received financial donations towards the purchase of the groceries from Ms Kezia Purick MLA Member for Goyder, Mrs Lia Finocchiaro MLA Member for Spillett and Mr Gerard Maley MLA Member for Nelson. A special thank you for your contributions. Thank you also to Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve and Nightcliff Friendly Grocer for your support.
The BBQ was a success, raising enough proceeds to finalise the purchase of branded ANBA merchandise including shirts, mugs and stubby coolers and to raise funds for other items that the branch is seeking. We received a few generous donations – thank you to Jason Law from Nuked Them Pest Control and the anonymous donor who flagged us down from his car window. This BBQ wouldn’t have been possible without our volunteers who put a large amount of effort into organising the event, preparing for the BBQ and of course volunteering their time on the day! With Darwin’s wet season heat, it was a big day but well worth it and a lot of fun! Stay tuned for more news on our next fundraiser which is scheduled for April.

Hive rescue
During February, Wes and Sherronna re-attended Palm City Resort as the NT branch was called out in relation to the relocation of another stingless bee colony from within a bungalow under renovation. The members attended the site to assess the situation, after removing some external wall cladding to reveal the top of the wall framing, they noticed that the bees (T. mellipes) had made their nest within the structural steel of the wall framing. As it was within a RHS box section of the wall framing, there was no way for the members to safely remove the nest. Given this section of the bungalow was not part of the scope of work, the advice to the management and building supervisor was to leave the nest as is, allowing a small gap at the top of the new wall cladding to allow the bees to continue to access their nest. Both management and the builder were supportive of the approach and happy to work around the bees and ensure that access would not be restricted on completion of the works.

Branch meeting
On Monday 4 March we had our monthly branch meeting. Thanks to a lot of organising and preparation by Kate Bamford, we were able to host our first ANBA Inc. NT branch bi-monthly virtual presentation. The virtual presentation was delivered by Dr Natasha Hungerford from the University of Queensland on Optimising Bioactive Content of Australian Stingless Bee Honey. This topic was very well received by attendees who thoroughly loved to hear Dr Natasha present on her research into trehalulose content within stingless bee honey and her findings on trehalulose content in honey produced by our local undescribed species (currently referred to as T. mellipes 2). Data gained from the research has been used by the ANBA Honey Committee to support the development of a Food Standard for stingless bee honey. It was highlighted that trehalulose would be an excellent marker to detect fake honey as it is not readily synthesised and is only available at a great cost. Greater knowledge of floral nectar sugar composition is needed and would enable beekeepers to select hive sites close to sucrose rich floral nectar to bolster the trehalulose content of stingless bee honey.

A very big thank you to Dr Natasha for delivering this presentation and to Kate for making it happen. 19 ANBA members signed into the presentation online and 15 branch members and guests attended on site to listen to Dr Natasha speak. The branch encountered some technical difficulties with internet access; however we understand those who linked in online had no issues. The branch has made arrangements to ensure a smoother delivery for the next bi-monthly virtual presentation, which is lined up for May.

If members would like to view a copy of the presentation, this will be available on the ANBA NT Branch Facebook group. Following the meeting, many local members hung around for some fantastic conversations. Stay tuned for more details on our next virtual presentation.
From Sherronna Nowland sherronna_schaefe@live.com.au

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